Skype exchange with students of Nazarbayev Intellectual School,Kazakhstan.
On the 3 March 2016 from 12.15 – 1.30 pm, English B students had their inaugural Skype dialogue session with their counterparts from NIS.
In the lead up to the live session, the Principal and Ms Evelyn had liaised with the NIS English teachers, Ms Maya and Ms Begaim, and in consultation with SIPFLS IT personnel, set up a Moodle site for mutual exchange of resources.
This included a Self Introduction Chat room, where teachers and students from both parties uploaded brief entries about themselves. The topic for discussion would be “Culture and Festivals”.
Subsequently, they uploaded pre-reading resources on their respective New Year customs and celebrations. Our students had begun sourcing these materials over the Spring Festival and at the beginning of this semester had come together in groups to select, collate and compile /create PPT documents for upload. Likewise the NIS students matched our efforts by sending some very interesting material compiled from various sources, including an exceptionally interesting and informative video on the Kazakh Spring Festival by Steppes Productions.
Each side prepared answers to a list of questions contributed in advance by the other side, and during the “live” session, this proved to be the highlight, as students individually and collectively took on the responsibility of offering answers on various aspects of their respective cultures. Some questions centred on the significance of the horse in Kazakh culture, the significance of the dragon in Chinese history, the difference between the Chinese New Year and the international New Year on Jan 1, the upcoming Kazakh Spring Festival, etc.
Some mutual greetings in English, Kazakh, and Chinese were exchanged, especially in the light of the celebrations of the Third Anniversary of NIS. Our students were treated to a solo performance on a Kazakh musical instrument, followed by an impressively harmonious rendition of a class song item in the Kazakh language, after which SIF students reciprocated with a pop Chinese New Year ditty accompanied by the solo violin.
There were spontaneous questions on aspects of the Chinese lifestyle (currency, daily expenditure, jobs, family size, etc) and sharing of specimens of the Kazakh and Chinese currencies, and the Chinese abacus.
The session was highly enjoyable and the students parted amidst mutual greetings and promises of future collaboration.
The “live” session was followed by a session in class where students reflected on what they had learnt and accomplished, what they needed to improve on, and suggested topics for future collaboration.
ATL skills : Research
Thinking (introduction to higher order thinking skills)